Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 13 December 2019

Jimmy Sheirgill – a truly talented Bollywood actor, but never the leading man

He has two new films coming out this week: we speak to the veteran actor about how he always does his best work, no matter how small the role

Ashok Pathak and Jimmy Sheirgill in Jhootha Kahin Ka. Photo: Dream N Hustle Media
Ashok Pathak and Jimmy Sheirgill in Jhootha Kahin Ka. Photo: Dream N Hustle Media

When we get in touch with veteran actor Jimmy Sheirgill, who has been in the Bollywood biz for more than two decades, we notice his WhatsApp profile features a picture of the Burj Khalifa.

No, he's not in Dubai promoting Jhootha Kahin Ka or Family of Thakurganj, even though both films come out in the UAE today. "That [photo] was long back," he tells us. "I keep visiting the UAE for short visits with the family, but I am not much into changing profile pictures, Instagram and all that," he says in his typically laid back fashion.

I have put in my sincere efforts into each role and got appreciation too, what else can I ask for?

Jimmy Sheirgill

He has an association with Abu Dhabi too, having played a small but pivotal part in Bang Bang, which was filmed in the capital. The role has stuck to his CV because of the critical acclaim of his performance, despite the fact his turn as a Colonel spans only minutes of the movie.

The actor has never cemented a place as a leading man, but hasn't complained about that fact either, and is always excellent in everything he appears in. His small but notable appearances are the hallmark of his career in Hindi cinema, while he also acts and produces films in Punjabi, his mother tongue.

We speak to him about working with Rishi Kapoor and always striving to do his best, no matter the size of the role.

Are you satisfied with how your career has turned out?

Oh, very satisfied. As an actor, I have got to play so many roles in different genres. I have put in my sincere efforts in each of them and got appreciation too, what else can I ask for?

Superstar Rishi Kapoor is in Jhootha Kahin Ka, how was it working with him?

It was great working with him. I have worked with Amitabh Bachchan, Naseeruddin Shah, Sanjay Dutt, Ajay Devgn... so many greats who I grew up idolising. And now, working with Rishi uncle was another uplifting experience.

This one was a nice light comedy film so it was fun working with him. I wish he comes back soon healthy and fit, so that he can do more films and I also can do some more work with him.

[Kapoor filmed scenes for the film just before he was diagnosed with cancer, and he quickly went to New York for treatment.]

There is a sense that your roles of late are all of a similar nature, with a lot of tongue-in-cheek dialogue...

I disagree. I have done villainous roles, in Mukkabaaz and the Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster series. In De De Pyaar De, I did a comic role and Jhootha Kahin Ka is a comedy but I am playing a thug from Bihar.

Yes, exactly, a thug from Bihar but one with comic lines?

I have done different roles, but never as a character from the Bihar state with their unique accent. And if you see the full film, the script is so well-written that if all goes well as per my hard work, it should come out really nicely. It's something that I really enjoyed doing for the first time.

So giving layered performances is what you are striving for?

I always try to put in an honest effort in any work I do.

In 2014, I did a very small bit in Bang Bang. It was like I did something insignificant for a friend and moved on. But when I got good feedback, I went to the theatres and was moved to see the audience appreciating even five minutes of my work. That is what I am striving for.

You have two films releasing in the same week, and your career has been defined by smaller roles. Do you see that as a blessing in disguise or a bane?

I did the films at different times, but that's the nature of the business and [the release date] is something that is out of my control. But one film is an action entertainer [Family of Thakurganj] while the other [Jhootha Kahin Ka] is a comedy, so I am happy to get to do all types of work.

Updated: July 18, 2019 05:01 PM